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2022 Crystal Ball?

2022 Crystal Ball?

January 12, 2022

Welcome to 2022!

May it bring us peace, prosperity, and a whole lotta love.

And some greater certainty about what lies ahead.

This email includes precious little certainty, but it does have kittens. (All the way down in the P.S.)

You're probably seeing an endless parade of emails, listicles, and thought pieces loaded with predictions for 2022.

Will these predictions be right?

In some ways.

Will they be wrong?

Almost certainly.

Predictions are usually judged by how right or wrong they turn out to be.

Is that the right approach?

Is there innate value in the exercise of looking at the current state of things and thinking about where the winds will take us, to mix metaphors?

Beyond the success or failure of our prognostications?

I think so.

I also think revisiting predictions to see where and why we got it wrong is a great exercise in how complex our world really is.

Rather than issue predictions about 2022 that are certain to be wrong, here are some musings about trends I think will play a role this year.

There's hope for COVID-19 in 2022.

As Omicron numbers skyrocket, it's clear the pandemic is still with us in this third year.

But, I'm hopeful that increasing vaccination rates, medical advances like Pfizer's at-home anti-viral pill, and decreasing virulence could help reduce the impact of COVID on our lives.1

I also want to acknowledge that our outlook as Americans is not reflected in every country around the world. Getting to the other side of this pandemic will require the whole world's efforts.

I deeply hope this is our year.

The economy looks poised for more growth.

Despite plenty of hurdles, the U.S. economy looks to have entered 2022 in shape for more growth.

Current estimates suggest the economy will continue to grow this year, faster than typical historical trends.2

But all that depends on a lot of assumptions about variants, spending, hiring, inflation, and more. We'll see just how rosy those assumptions are as the year progresses.

Politics will dominate headlines.

Mid-term elections mean politics will play a big role (in the media at least).

Election years always mean uncertainty, and that often rattles markets. However, historical analysis shows that markets typically bounce back after election uncertainty is over.3

While the past doesn't predict the future, it's a good reminder of why we don't let elections drive strategy. They're just one more factor in a very complex system.

Folks are ready for some kind of normal.

I think it's safe to say that we're all tired of the pandemic and longing for normalcy.

What does normal look like in 2022?

Will it look like what we had before the pandemic? Will it be completely different?

What do you think?

Do you have any predictions for 2022 to share?

P.S. These are the kittens you're looking for. Here's a live kitten cam from a rescue.

P.P.S. Need some inspiration for the new year? Here's a curated list of Ted talks to get you going. I think the talks on happiness and stress are particularly fascinating.